Classic, simple, and delicious vegan pesto made with arugula, basil, walnuts, lemon and garlic. This pesto is fantastic stirred into soup and pasta sauce or drizzled over roasted veggies; but it really shines in my beloved vegan Meatball Sub sandwich.
Take your favourite dish from ordinary to extraordinary with a drizzle of this simple and sensational vegan pesto sauce. You'll be happy you did!
If you're looking for a 5 minute, vegan pesto that is simple to make, super delicious, and will elevate all your recipes, keep reading!
Pesto is a perfect plant-based spread for vegetarian sandwiches, pasta dishes, drizzle over tacos, baked sweet potatoes and tofu scrambles. Is there anything pesto can't turn into a five star meal? I don't think so . . . .
Why You'll Love This Easy Recipe
- super flavorful - adds garlicky, earthy, zesty punch to everything
- adaptable - substitute the greens, nuts, and acid for whatever ingredients you have on hand
- healthy - greens, walnuts (the most nutritious nut!), can be made oil-free
- gluten-free, dairy-free, plant based, vegetarian, paleo, Whole 30, vegan
- easy to make, freezes well, is delicious drizzled on bowls, pizza, chili, tacos, and soups
I know you are going to love adding pesto to everything because it's bursting with so much zippy flavour!!! It's garlicky, tangy, creamy, healthy, and soooo simple to make. There's no hard and fast rules when it comes to pesto sauce - you have some creative license (who doesn't love that?). It's very versatile, very forgiving, and turns out delicious every time!
A classic Italian pesto is made with basil and pine nuts, but it doesn't have to be.
- Greens - basil is traditional, but a combination of basil, arugula, and parsley is beyond delicious.
- Nuts - add richness and texture. Walnuts are a healthy, nutritious choice. Pine nuts (traditional) or pistachios are also delicious. Try the nuts lightly toasted for an enhanced, rich nuttiness.
- Olive Oil - bring out the good stuff which is going to add lots of flavor and a creamy texture.
- Lemon Juice - fresh is best, adds brightness and tang.
- Garlic - fresh garlic adds pungency, but don't overdo it! You can always add more after tasting.
- Salt - enhances and punches up the flavors.
- Cheese - typically pesto is made with parmesan cheese. If you have a wonderful brand of parmesan cheese available, grate it into the pesto. You can also make this easy vegan parmesan cheese recipe which adds a nice salty, umami flavor.
How to Make 5 Minute Vegan Pesto Sauce
On our food tour in Italy, we saw first-hand how pesto (pesto alla Genovese) was made back in the day (with a mortar and pestle!). Most modern cooks these days use a food processor (I use this KitchenAid) which is faster and easier.
Prepare the greens and garlic by rough chopping, placing them in the food processor with the nuts and pulsing a few times. Add the remaining ingredients except the oil, replace the lid, and then drizzle oil through the spout on the food processor.
A batch of easy, homemade pesto doesn't last long at my house. But if you happen to have some leftover, just pour it into ice cube trays and freeze. Once frozen, pop them out and store in a container or bag in the freezer for later use. Bring the cube to room temperature or throw into a soup or stew frozen.
Alternatively, pesto keeps well in the fridge for a few days.
More Delicious Vegan Sauces
Check out my vegan sauce page for tons of delicious dairy-free, oil-free friendly, vegan sauces, dips and drizzles.
Sweet and Spicy Tahini Sauce - our most popular sauce on the blog - super addictive!
Cashew Cream Sauce plus 8 variations - delicious sauce that turns ordinary to extraordinary.
Vegan Sushi plus 4 sensational dipping sauces - really irresistible!!!
Simple 5 Minute Vegan Pesto Recipe
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- food processor
- 2 cups arugula leaves (loose pack), rough chop
- ¼ cup basil leaves, rough chop
- ¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, rough chop
- 4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
- ¼ cup walnuts
- 3-4 tbsp olive oil (if oil free, use vegetable broth)
- 2+ tbsp vegan parmesan cheese*
- 1-2 tbsp lemon juice (more to taste)
- sea salt, to taste
- I use my homemade vegan parmesan recipe or a favorite vegan parmesan brand.
- Rough chop the greens, garlic and nuts. Add to food processor and pulse a few times to a crumble consistency.
- Place the remaining ingredients into the food processor and pulse until it starts to come together as a paste. Stop and scrape down the sides as necessary.
- With the motor running, slowly drizzle the oil through the spout until the pesto becomes a thick but loose sauce. Add a splash of water if necessary to get the correct consistency and texture.
- Taste test and adjust for flavours and texture. Lemon for acidity and brightness, salt to bring out flavours, parmesan or nutritional yeast for cheesiness, walnuts for nuttiness and richness, and garlic for pungency.
This recipe is from simplyceecee.co food blog. All images and content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images or republish this recipe without prior permission. Thank you.
Originally posted September 2019. Post updated April 2021 with new photos and tips.